How to calculate and pay out-of-pocket college costs
In order to compare financial aid awards from different colleges, you need to be able to understand the different out-of-pocket costs for each college–the total cost you’ll have to pay after grants and scholarships are applied.
With this number in mind, you’ll have a better understanding of how the costs compare and be able to determine how to pay for the balance–whether it’s through a job, student loan or other source.
Use cost calculator to compare financial aid awards
The infographic below explains how to calculate out-of-pocket costs at different colleges.
Your out of pocket cost for a college is found by subtracting the amount of the grants and scholarships you’ve received from the total cost of attendance for the college.
Remember that a college’s financial aid award might include federal student loans as well, but leave these out of your calculations because they’ll have to be paid back.
While the price of books and other living expenses can vary, this is a good number to use for comparison among different colleges.
How to pay for out-of-pocket college costs
In order to meet your out-of-pocket costs, you have several options, including:
- Prepaid college tuition funds
- College savings plan funds, like a 529 plan
- Private scholarships
- Work study/on-campus job
- Money earned from a summer job
- Federal Direct Student Loans
- Subsidized Stafford Loans
- Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
- Parent PLUS Loans
- Loans from the college (Perkins Loans)
- Private Student Loans
Overall, you should strive to minimize your student debt upfront because student loans will have to be paid back with interest.
We help families and students maximize their financial aid packages and keep their out-of-pocket costs for college as low as possible. To learn how we can help you, call Rick and Andy at 1-888-234-3907 or contact us here.